Say you had a buzz-worthy indie film. It's getting very good to great reviews. It will be on a pretty good number of top ten lists at the end of the year. It's being mentioned strongly in the Oscar race in multiple categories. It has a name director, albeit one that hasn't had a big success in a while. It has a pretty bankable star, moreso than most indies. That star has given an awards-buzz performance. That star was on the cover of Entertainment Weekly two weeks ago with an article talking up her Oscar chances. That star was also on the most watched Saturday Night Live in years on the weekend of the movie's first small release.
Say you had all these things going for you, and you were staging a platform release, i.e. expanding the number of theaters and screens from one week to the next. How many screens would you have it on two weeks after the initial release, after that sort of publicity and buzz? 300? 500? 1,000?
The answer: According to Variety, Rachel Getting Married is at 71 theaters this weekend.
As a comparison, Man on Wire and Frozen River, limited release pictures from a couple months ago, are still on 50+ screens. Tell No One is still on 70+ screens.
Great job of catching the momentum, Sony Pictures Classics.